2023 NBA Draft: Florida Gators star Colin Castleton signs with Lakers as undrafted free agent

By OnlyGators.com Staff
June 23, 2023
2023 NBA Draft: Florida Gators star Colin Castleton signs with Lakers as undrafted free agent

Image Credit: UAA

Florida Gators forward Colin Castelton, the team’s leading scorer last season, was not selected during the 2023 NBA Draft on Thursday night, though it did not take long for him to find a home. Moments after the draft process ended, Castelton agreed to sign a two-way contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A two-way contract stipulates that Castleton will be paid accordingly based on whether he winds up playing in the NBA or beginning his career in the NBA G League.

A 2023 Preseason All-SEC first team selection, Castleton was in the midst of an All-SEC season averaging 16.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 3.0 blocks per game when he broke his hand. At the time he went down, he was in the midst of averaging 18.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.4 blocks over a 12-game stretch (24.8 points and 9.5 boards over the four contests prior to his injury).

Florida’s season fell apart without its top playmaker and 25-game starter. Head coach Todd Golden ran the team’s offense through Castleton in the post, relying on his standout defense and shot-blocking prowess on the other end. Without him on the court, the Gators were inefficient offensively and struggled to get stops in the paint defensively.

It’s possible Castleton — among the top 9% of shot blockers in college basketball last season — would have been selected in the 2022 NBA Draft; however, he chose to remain at Florida as the program transitioned to Golden from former head coach Mike White. A transfer from Michigan, he was a passionate representative of UF who gave his all on the court each night.

The Gators have not seen one of their players drafted across nine of the last 10 drafts with the exception being 2021 when both Tre Mann and Scottie Lewis were selected. Florida had 11 total players selected across six of the seven prior drafts (2007-09, 2011-13).

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